New World School of the Arts becomes ‘Fashionable’ during spring Legislative Session

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Katherine Fernandez Rundle and John Soto model Dade Days tie and scarf.Miami, FL – New World School of the Arts graphic designer John Soto had the opportunity to travel to Tallahassee during the Legislative Session severalweeks ago to represent NWSA and introduce his new fashion sense - the 2016 Dade Days in Tallahassee Ties and Scarves. "The design is the result of the Miami-Days Competition," explained Maggy Cuesta, dean of visual arts at NWSA. "This is an almost three-decades old, judged competition, that is open to all NWSA college graphic designers, which allows the winner to see his or her design mass-produced and distributed in our nation's capital. More importantly, this competition highlights the importance of our state's legislative process and the role our community plays in the process."

The Dade Days Ties and Scarves are limited edition items and each realized design becomes highly coveted among political, community and civic leaders who look forward to expanding their collection with the beautiful cutting edge accessories created by NWSA college students. In addition to seeing his design come to fruition and being recognized for his creativity, John's experience included interacting with key political figuresduring the session and even having photo ops to capture the moment. Among the dignitaries John met was Chairman Board of Miami-Dade County Commissioners, Jean Monestime; Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez; Florida Senator, Anitere Flores; and State Attorney for Miami-Dade, Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

"Having the opportunity to travel to Tallahassee and seeing my design featured at Miami-Dade Days 2016, was an amazing experience!" said Soto. "Meeting community leaders and seeing their reaction towards the design I made was great. I witnessed a few 'aha moments' when people spotted their own zip code [part of the design] and that was entertaining. I was specially honored to see people wearing their ties and scarves proudly. From flight attendants to city officials - they all made me feel humble and grateful. A sincere thank you to all of them, as well as to my professor Rosario Martinez-Cañas and classmates for their unconditional support in this journey."
Soto explained that the flag of Miami-Dade County was his inspiration for this year’s blue and green gridded design. “I focused on the elements that could bring this idea to life. Elements used in design, such as line, shape, direction, and color. While researching, I realized the characteristics I was looking for are in Miami-Dade County’s own flag. Overall, I wanted to make sure the theme of Miami-Dade County was prominent and create something worthy of wearing for this event as well as for any occasion - a design that would represent the county with integrity by showcasing order and elegance in a fashionable way.”
The thought process, however does not only bear in mind the aesthetics of the design – being able to embrace the community as a whole is also an essential aspect of the outcome - “The most critical and challenging part of my vision was that I wanted everyone from Miami-Dade to feel identified; not only popular ethnicities or sectors, butevery single resident. Thus the idea of using zip codes came to mind. A series of numbers that divides specific landmarks through street lines, but together it unifies the county. This became the foundation for my entire layout.”
John Soto is a Graphic Design artist at New World School of the Arts, who will receive his BFA degree this year. As a graphic artist, his artwork is functional for user consumption and the aesthetics of most of his work is minimal and elegant. Craftsmanship is equally important to him as he emphasizes quality of design on artwork created by hand, as well as on digital and printed media. His overall goal is to create artwork that is not only meaningful, but also useful to the end user.
John's graphic design professor, Rosario Martínez-Cañas, also has good reason to celebrate as does the whole NWSA visual arts division. An active advocate for the arts not only in the classroom but also in Tallahassee, each year Rosario takes great pride in overseeing the Dade Days Tie and Scarf competition, directing the assignment and even joining the circle of judges. Her task however, does not conclude once the winning design is produced. Rosario gladly accompanies the winning student to Tallahassee to continue her support and sponsorship, a task she takes very seriously and prepares for well in advance. This year Martínez-Cañas was met with an unexpected and very welcoming surprise - she was awarded the prestigious Nestor Torres Ambassador of the Arts Award, an award bestowed on those who have either made a difference or devoted their lives to advancing the arts. "I'm honored and humbled by this recognition", said Rosario. "I've dedicated my life to my passion and this has brought me great satisfaction. To share my art and my knowledge with my students and to see them excel and become contributing citizens of our community, however, is incomparable to anything else. This award is very special to me - it embodies all that I believe in."

Other New World School of the Arts members who have received the Nestor Torres Ambassador of the Arts Award includes Daniel Lewis, former dean of dance andPatrice Bailey, dean of theater at NWSA.
Rosario Martínez-Cañas was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in San Juan,Puerto Rico. She graduated from Loyola University with a BA in Communicationsshe received her MFA in Graphic Design from Miami International University of Art and Design. In 1991, she founded The Image Designers Group, an award-winning graphic design studio. The studio's designs have been featured in several books among them Hot Graphics USA and Logo Lounge 3000 Animal &Mythology Logos Master Library. In 1999, while still working in her graphicdesign business, Rosario started teaching as an adjunct professor at New World School of the Arts where in 2006 she became full-time faculty in charge of the Graphic Design Department. Rosario served on the board of the American Institute of Graphic rts [AIGA] Miami Chapter for many years where she helped introduce the celebration of "World Day of Design" in the US. She currently supervises the NWSA AIGA’s student chapter, and for the past six years, she and her students have raised funds to attend design conferences throughout the world. She has also either supervised or curated several NWSA exhibitions and was instrumental in starting “Art for New Art,” NWSA permanent art collection of established artists to serve as both an inspiration and learning tool for students. Rosario has also conducted graphic design workshops as a visiting artist in several universities, including Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí in Mexico.
About New World School of the Artsvisual arts program: Throughgifted, emerging artists and unique programs, New World School of the Arts has become an educational and creative beacon of the arts. Trained by nationally renowned practicing artists, students are encouraged to develop a personal, artistic and aesthetic vision while mastering their own technical skills in traditional and new media. Areas of concentration for students seeking a four-year BFA college degree include drawing, digital media, graphic design, painting, photography and sculpture. More information available by calling the NWSA Visual Arts division at (305) 237-3620 or at
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and theUniversity of Florida.